His Name is Wooly Willy

An invisible force worked right there in front of me. Obvious it was! As a child, I played with these pieces of metal that either repelled each other or snapped together by an unseen power by magnetic force.

His name I could not recall, so I googled “magnet man toy.” I found “Magnetic Personality Wooly Willy!” Remember the cardboard toy with a bald man’s face, covered with a plastic bubble filled with metal shavings? You used the pencil to drag the metal shavings around to give Willy hair or a beard.

If you are a believer in the Lordship of Jesus Christ, then you are daily repelling or attracting others to Him. Each day you decide if your own Mr. Magnetic Personality Wooly Willy will have a joyful or grumpy face. Your attitude pushes others away from or toward Him.

The Bible says, “Keep your conduct among the Gentiles honorable, so that when they speak against you as evildoers, they may see your good deeds and glorify God on the day of visitation” (1 Peter 2:12 ESV).

Keep your conduct honorable. Honorable mean to be attractively good. It inspires, even motivates, others to embrace what is lovely. Live for Christ in such a winsome way that you win some.

Ever wondered what American tourists in another country look like to those who live there? One American can be brash, arrogant, and demanding which gives the impression that we are all jerks. Or the tourist can be respectful, honor customs, and be polite.

Followers of Christ are aliens in a world that is no longer our home. We are on a pilgrimage in a strange land. How do others see us?

In the few days you have left on earth, are you attractively good, inspiring, and motivating others to want a relationship with Jesus? As a tourist, what impression are you giving to the natives?

Keep your conduct honorable so they may see your good deeds and glorify God. Will you today be honorable or ornery? Are you repelling or attracting others to our beautiful, resurrected, and glorified Christ?

How? The command is clear. But you cannot do it! The only way is let the beautiful, resurrected, and glorified Christ live in and through you.

Worship with us this Sunday at 9am. On Easter Sunday, worship at 9am or 11:15am. Find Pastor Denny’s messages at BalboaBaptist.Church, click “Media.” Our mission is to bring all people to the saving grace of Jesus Christ and help them grow toward Christian maturity.

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An Alternative to the Blame-Game

Someone has done someone wrong. A hero came and got revenge on the evildoers. Writers and moviemakers have made millions of dollars creatively portraying this storyline.

I watched again for the umpteenth time the movie The Count of Monte Cristo. Alex Dumas tells of a pure hearted man, Edmond Dantes, betrayed by his best friend and exiled to the Alcatraz-like prison, the Chateau D’if, for 13 years. Solitary confinement and an annual beating led him to despair. A fellow prisoner tunneling to escape, emerges into Edmond’s cell. He educates Edmond and tells him of a hidden treasure. When his cellmate dies, Edmond escapes by putting himself into the body bag and is thrown over the cliff into the sea. He discovers the treasure hidden on the isle of Monte Cristo. He returns to his home town wealthy beyond imagination, full of hate and set on revenge. But eventually all the hate sickens him, he changes his heart, and becomes a man dedicated to doing good things with his wealth.

In another story, he was betrayed by leaders blinded by selfishness, friends who misread their instructions, a spy with a hidden agenda, and a close friend who let him down three times. Jesus knows how it feels to be betrayed. He knows how you feel in your betrayal. Read Luke 22.

We have all been done-wrong, lied-to, cheated, scammed, betrayed, stolen from, or deeply hurt by someone. How we react to the cheaters and liars is important to our sanity, peace and joy.

You could go into revenge-mode: get even, watch Charles Bronson in Death Wish or Mel Gibson in Payback or Russell Crowe in The Gladiator, or devise some diabolical passive-aggressive way of getting-even with that person who betrayed you. Not a good choice.

You could go into regret-mode: beat yourself up, go through life with overwhelming guilt, or sink into depression suppressing your anger so deep into your soul you cannot cope with normal life. Some even to go as far as Judas Iscariot and commit suicide. Please don’t go this route.

You could go into repent-mode: do as Peter did when he denied Jesus three times, he went out and wept bitterly. Later Jesus asked Peter three times if he loved him. Three times Jesus told Peter to go back to work feeding His sheep. Jesus forgave and restored the repentant Peter. Read John 21.

Quit blaming. Blame means be-lame. Quit blaming religion, an enemy, or a close friend who let you down. Start trusting the perfect Savior who offers perfect forgiveness, and becomes your perfect advisor and friend who gradually restores those damaged emotions.

You can play the blame-game & never get over it. Or you can play the name-game and trust the Name that is above every name – Jesus!

Worship with us this Sunday at 9am. Find Pastor Denny’s messages at BalboaBaptist.Church, click “Media.” Our mission is to bring all people to the saving grace of Jesus Christ and help them grow toward Christian maturity.

Extraordinary Neck-ware

Mike Tomlin, coach of the Pittsburg Steelers, wears a necklace. On that necklace is a cross expressing his faith in Jesus Christ. Some men wear an expensive gold-braided necklace. Many women wear valuable necklaces made of gold, silver, or platinum. Of course then there are the beautiful and cherished diamonds that often accompany these beautiful pieces of jewelry.
What you put around your neck usually means something important to you. Perhaps someone important loves you, or you want to display a symbol significant to you, or that you have success in life producing the ability to purchase such an expensive item.

The Bible tells us to bind around our necks the merciful loving-kindness and faithful love of God. Proverbs 3:3 says “Let not steadfast love and faithfulness forsake you; bind them around your neck; write them on the tablet of your heart.”

The implications of what Jesus said are the two greatest commandments are indeed extraordinary! He said to love God with your entire being and to love your neighbor as yourself.
Jesus’ followers must love him more than they love their own family, their business, their hobbies, and even more than their own lives.
The writer in Proverbs 3:3 says that not only are you to bind this kind of love around your neck but also write it on the tablet of your heart. So it is to be both external and internal.

The Scriptures says that this internal love is to be fervent, compelling, speaking the truth, and demonstrated by sharing with others your earthly possessions

So since what you wear around your neck is something usually highly valued, is this kind of extraordinary love highly valued by you? Do you bind around your neck and write on the tablet of your heart this love?
The only way to be able to produce this kind of love is to be totally stunned by the extraordinary love of God for you through his son Jesus Christ. Please believe him and receive him.
Worship with us this Sunday at 9am. Find Dr. Wright’s messages at BalboaBaptist.Church, click Media. Our mission is to bring all people to the saving grace of Jesus Christ and help them grow toward Christian maturity.

Whatever Life Throws at You

Painted in large letters on the side of an old building are the words “GOD IS LOVE.” Seeing it caused me to ask myself whether these oft quoted words are just a cliché or an overused platitude. For many people, I am sure it is.

But since these three famous words appear in the Bible in 1 John 4:17 and I take the Bible as the highest authority for what I believe, then it must be much more than an overworked phrase. If God is love, the question becomes, “So what?”

The most famous verse in the Bible, John 3:16, gives a profound answer. “For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life.” (NKJV)

God loves you with a perfect love, “For God so loved the world.” God is flawless and infinite. Living in an imperfect world warped by every imaginable evil, let the perfect God perfectly love you. You are loved right now perfectly. It’s a scary world, but perfect love casts out fear.

God loves you with a sacrificial love, “… He gave His only begotten Son.” God is so serious about loving you and punishing sin, he sacrificed His only, one-of-a-kind Son for you. In this world of so many selfish humans, allow the sacrificial God who loves you to love you right now.

God loves you with an impartial love, “… that whoever believes in Him.” God is completely impartial. He loves “whoever.” The rich or powerful do not influence Him. The poor and abused are not rejected by Him. All people, including you, can come to Him through Christ because He loves you with an impartial love.

And God loves you with an eternal love, “… should not perish but have everlasting life.” God is eternally past, present, and future. His love for you wholeheartedly wants to give you eternal life. An eternal place of mansions, banquets, and no more tears await those who receive His eternal love in His Son Jesus.

Whatever life throws at you, God’s love meets your need. Permit God to love you today perfectly, sacrificially, impartially, and eternally.

Worship with us this Sunday at 9am. Find Pastor Denny’s messages at BalboaBaptist.Church, click “Media.” Our mission is to bring all people to the saving grace of Jesus Christ and help them grow toward Christian maturity.

Jogging through Life

Jogging bores me to tears. To play a vigorous game of Basketball or Pickleball with a goal to win thrills me. High school sports required me to do a lot of running to build stamina. Line drills, laps, and tromping up bleachers seemed to be my coaches’ favorite things.

I think what made it so difficult was not the physical exertion, but the lack of an obvious goal. We just kept running sprints or laps with no idea when the end would come.

But running with purpose changes everything. We don’t think of the drudgery of running if we are escaping an angry bear or gladly sprinting to the finish line to win a gold medal. Fleeing the bear or pursuing the gold are great motivators!

“But as for you, O man of God, flee these things. Pursue righteousness, godliness, faith, love, steadfastness, gentleness.” 1 Tim. 6:11

First, flee! Get as far away as you can. Don’t see how close you can get without getting burned. Run away!

Flee from any belief that contradicts what Jesus said in the Bible. The first test for any cult or false teacher is who they say Jesus is.

Flee pride. Conceit is vividly described as a “puffed up” or a “blowing smoke” attitude that leads to ignorance, quarreling, and controversy by minds clouded with selfishness.

Flee materialism. At the heart of the love of money is discontentment. How much is enough? Just a little bit more. But more never satisfies.

Fleeing is just half of it. The second half is pursue! This means to chase or hunt aggressively. Go for it!

Pursue righteousness. Live out the righteousness of God implanted into you when you trusted Christ, not just trying hard to do the right thing.

Chase godliness. The above mentioned three thing to flee leads to ungodliness.

Hunt for faith. Boldly step out and live on the promises of God’s word.

Earnestly love. Nothing matters without love. For God so loved you, he gave his only Son! Pursue love by loving others.

Run after steadfastness. Never give up, endure and be patient!

Be aggressively gentle. The meek are those very powerful people who humbly and gently use their power to help others.

Don’t just jog through life. Flee! Pursue!

Worship with us this Sunday at 9am. Find Pastor Denny’s messages at BalboaBaptist.Church, click “Media.” Our mission is to bring all people to the saving grace of Jesus Christ and help them grow toward Christian maturity.

Why Me & Why Now?

It felt like a pop in my left calf muscle. A new year, feeling good, a new lease on life with a one-year building project completed, and enjoying my first real try at Pickleball and enjoying it! Reaching forward to hit the ball, pushing off with my left foot, I felt the pop. Amazingly very little physical pain resulted. But the mental anguish hit immediately. I knew instantly what had happened. My Achilles tendon had completely severed.

You hear some people say their life flashed before their eyes, well, the next six months flashed before my eyes. I saw surgery, cast, inconvenience, and months of recuperation. My lifestyle changed January 12, 2018. I am sidelined a bit from the pace I have been keeping the past three years of trying to keep up with an amazing group of Christ-followers called Balboa Baptist Church.

And then I read, “Now to him who is able to keep you from stumbling and to present you blameless before the presence of his glory with great joy, to the only God, our Savior, through Jesus Christ our Lord, be glory, majesty, dominion, and authority, before all time and now and forever.” (Jude 24-25).

The word “stumbling” jumped out at me! Medical professionals and those who have experienced this same injury have repeatedly warned me, “Be careful and don’t do anything that might reinjure it!” I have heeded that advice and laid low for almost two weeks now.

I’m thankful for an understanding congregation who laugh with me. I’m thankful for a wonderful wife taking care of me. I’m thankful for church members stepping up to take care of each other. I’m thankful for a God who promises to bring good out of the bad when we love him and work according to his purpose (Romans 8:28).

This “stumbling” does not mean we will be void of life’s difficulties. It means the Holy Spirit empowers us not to sin in the middle of our messes. God will not allow us to be tempted beyond your ability, but will provide a way of escape that you may endure it (1 Corinthians 10:13).

But why me and why now?! God is more interested my character, than my comfort. I want God to change my circumstance, but God wants to change me.

Going through a tough time in life? Me too. But let’s keep the faith, find great joy in our hope, trust God’s grace to make us blameless, look forward to heaven, and constantly give glory to Jesus Christ our Lord, now in the pain, and forever.

Worship with us this Sunday at 9am. Find Pastor Denny’s messages at BalboaBaptist.Church, click “Media.” Our mission is to bring all people to the saving grace of Jesus Christ and help them grow toward Christian maturity.

What Are the Odds?

Haley traveled thousands of miles across several continents to discover his genealogy. Many Americans today also have an incredible yearning for tracking down their linage. This helps us understand the amazing popularity of the most popular television miniseries in history, Alex Haley’s Roots.

Jewish citizens in the first century could determine their ancestors without traveling far. Temple records carefully noted the Jewish people’s ancestry preserving their identity in a history of turmoil in the ancient world. No missing ancestry problem existed in first-century Israel.

A crucial prophecy of the Messiah is that he would be a descendant of David and his kingdom would last forever. So in the Bible, Matthew traces Jesus’ legal father Joseph and Luke outlines the linage of Jesus’ birth mother Mary back to King David. When we read the Bible, we often skip over these lists.

About 300 prophesies detail the coming Messiah’s birth, life, death, and resurrection. Some prophecies refer to the same detail, so about sixty prophecies are unique. Jesus fulfilled them all. The chances of one man completing forty-eight prophecies are one in ten to the 157th power, that’s a one with 157 zeros. Just to fulfill eight prophecies, the odds are 1 in 10 multiplied by itself twenty-one times.

Matthew 1:22-23 says, “All this took place to fulfill what the Lord had spoken by the prophet: ‘Behold, the virgin shall conceive and bear a son, and they shall call his name Immanuel’ (which means, God with us).”

Finding another person with your same DNA is 1 in 70 trillion when there are only about 7 billion people in the world. Experts say those numbers make it impossible. So you are more likely to find someone with your DNA than someone to fulfill the prophecies Jesus fulfilled.

But numbers do not give you faith. Rather “… faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the word of God” (Romans 10:17). Hear the word of God, “But as he (Joseph) considered these things, behold, an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream, saying, ‘Joseph, son of David, do not fear to take Mary as your wife, for that which is conceived in her is from the Holy Spirit’” (Matthew 1:20).

What a leap of faith, Jesus is the literal son of God, conceived by the Holy Spirit. What are the odds?! Will you believe in the Lordship and resurrection of Jesus as your Savior?

Worship with us Christmas Eve at 9am and a special candlelight service at 5pm. Find Pastor Denny’s messages at BalboaBaptist.Church, click “Media.” Contact him at DWrightBalboa@gmail.com. Our mission is to bring all people to the saving grace of Jesus Christ and help them grow toward Christian maturity.